NHRA: Sampey earns 1st win since 2007; Torrence (TF), Capps (FC), Anderson (PS) also win

(Photo/video courtesy NHRA)

Angelle Sampey’s 42nd career Pro Stock Motorcycle win was a long time coming –nine years to be precise.

But that long winless slump is now history as Sampey roared to a win in Sunday’s finals of the NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey.

Also earning wins in the 10th of 24 races this season in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series were Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock).

Sampey (6.876 seconds at 194.41 mph) defeated Jerry Savoie (6.928 at 177.21) to take the victory, her first since winning at Houston in 2007.

In addition, Sampey becomes the fifth female driver or rider to win a race in the NHRA’s top four pro classes: Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle.

“I know this is my 42nd win but it feels like my first ever,” Sampey, the winningest female racer in NHRA history, said in a post-race interview. “I don’t feel like I had any wins before today. I’m starting all over again and I had something to prove and it took a while.

“I feel totally responsible to show my daughter what she can do with her life. Now I can show her that even if you aren’t winning every weekend but if you just keep trying, you’re going to get it. Showing her and being her role model – I don’t have the words for it.”

In Top Fuel, Torrence (4.037 seconds at 281.71 mph) earned his second win of the season and seventh of his career, defeating eight-time series champion Tony Schumacher (4.234 seconds at 268.28 mph).

“This is huge,” Torrence said in winning for the second time in his career at Englishtown. “This is home for my team. I’m proud to have contributed to this win, I got it for them.

“We’ve been so fortunate and blessed. We’ve got a race car that has been impeccable and the only fault has been me some of the time. We are going to count our blessings and just keep going.”

In Funny Car, Capps (3.954 seconds at 316.90 mph) earned his second race win in a row and third of the season, defeating Jack Beckman (7.894 at 85.05). In so doing, Capps regained the points lead in the Funny Car standings with his 48th career win.

“It’s great,” Capps said. “It’s something you hope will happen at the end of the day.

“With the competition, you can’t imagine it will go as planned or easy. We’re just taking it a little bit at a time. I almost felt embarrassed driving this car today because it’s just so good. You don’t want to mess up when it’s that good. It’s your race to lose.”

In Pro Stock, Anderson (6.610 seconds at 210.93 mph) earned his fifth win in seven final round appearances of the season, his seventh at Englishtown and the 83rd of his career, defeating points leader and teammate Jason Line, who fouled at the starting line.

“It’s unreal,” Anderson said, “It’s just absolutely been a dream season. I keep wanting to pinch myself.

“It’s just cool and we’ve had such a great run. This was another great weekend. It’s just one more time that Englishtown tells me how much it loves me and how much the fans up here appreciate Pro Stock.”

Ken Black Racing continues to dominate the Pro Stock class, with Line and Anderson having won all 10 events thus far between them, five wins each.

The NHRA national event tour continues next weekend (June 17-20) with the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


TOP FUEL: 1.  Steve Torrence; 2.  Tony Schumacher; 3.  Shawn Langdon; 4.  Brittany Force; 5.  Antron Brown; 6.  J.R. Todd; 7.  Dom Lagana; 8.  Doug Kalitta; 9.  Leah Pritchett; 10.  Shawn Reed; 11.  Smax Smith; 12.  Terry McMillen; 13.  Clay Millican; 14.  Richie Crampton; 15.  Luigi Novelli; 16. Terry Haddock.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Ron Capps; 2.  Jack Beckman; 3.  Jeff Diehl; 4.  Del Worsham; 5.  Tim Wilkerson; 6.  John Force; 7.  Matt Hagan; 8.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 9.  Alexis DeJoria; 10.  Cruz Pedregon; 11.  Chad Head; 12.  Blake Alexander; 13.  Robert Hight; 14.  Courtney Force; 15.  John Hale; 16.  Jim Campbell.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Greg Anderson; 2.  Jason Line; 3.  Vincent Nobile; 4.  Kenny Delco; 5.  Drew Skillman; 6.  John Gaydosh Jr; 7.  Jeg Coughlin; 8.  Allen Johnson; 9.  Alex Laughlin; 10.  Shane Gray; 11.  Erica Enders; 12.  Bo Butner; 13.  Charlie Westcott Jr.; 14.  V. Gaines; 15.  Chris McGaha.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  Angelle Sampey; 2.  Jerry Savoie; 3.  Eddie Krawiec; 4.  Chip Ellis; 5.  Andrew Hines; 6.  LE Tonglet; 7.  Steve Johnson; 8.  Hector Arana Jr; 9.  Cory Reed; 10.  Scotty Pollacheck; 11. Michael Phillips; 12.  Hector Arana; 13.  Brian Pretzel; 14.  Michael Ray; 15.  Jim Underdahl; 16. Karen Stoffer.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Top Fuel: Steve Torrence, 4.037 seconds, 281.71 mph  def. Tony Schumacher, 4.234 seconds, 268.28 mph.

Funny Car: Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.954, 316.90  def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 7.894, 85.05.

Pro Stock: Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.610, 210.93  def. Jason Line, Camaro, Foul – Red Light.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.876, 194.41  def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.928, 177.21.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Dom Lagana, 4.417, 211.73 def. Clay Millican, 6.925, 84.78; Brittany Force, 3.849, 317.34 def. Luigi Novelli, 11.199, 71.53; Shawn Langdon, 3.815, 319.45 def. Shawn Reed, 4.498, 196.67; Steve Torrence, 3.876, 310.55 def. Smax Smith, 4.981, 148.80; Antron Brown, 4.071, 226.81 def. Terry Haddock, 11.960, 59.27; Doug Kalitta, 3.801, 321.96 def. Leah Pritchett, 3.846, 317.05; J.R. Todd, 3.754, 323.66 def. Richie Crampton, 9.033, 88.40; Tony Schumacher, 3.799, 319.29 def. Terry McMillen, 5.129, 140.50; QUARTERFINALS — Langdon, 4.505, 174.10 def. Lagana, Foul – Red Light; Force, 4.405, 287.41 def. Kalitta, Foul – Centerline; Schumacher, 4.156, 263.72 def. Brown, 4.804, 140.02; Torrence, 4.481, 239.44 def. Todd, 5.359, 150.46; SEMIFINALS — Torrence, 4.327, 264.75 def. Force, 4.427, 252.24; Schumacher, 3.843, 319.22 def. Langdon, 3.904, 314.97; FINAL — Torrence, 4.037, 281.71 def. Schumacher, 4.234, 268.28.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 5.188, 230.61 def. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 6.394, 144.94; Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.057, 307.93 def. John Hale, Charger, 8.734, 56.15; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.950, 316.75 def. Jim Campbell, Toyota Camry, 13.365, 63.58; Del Worsham, Camry, 4.621, 250.74 def. Blake Alexander, Charger, 4.760, 208.84; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.033, 313.73 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.117, 293.41; Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.999, 318.77 def. Chad Head, Camry, 4.551, 225.11; Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.972, 315.71 def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.998, 309.91; John Force, Camaro, 3.983, 314.68 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 7.035, 93.90; QUARTERFINALS — Worsham, 4.332, 254.71 def. Johnson Jr., 9.235, 84.46; Beckman, 4.105, 305.98 def. Hagan, 4.842, 182.21; Diehl, 4.264, 272.45 def. Wilkerson, 4.292, 270.75; Capps, 3.996, 310.55 def. J. Force, 4.474, 204.98; SEMIFINALS — Capps, 3.960, 314.68 def. Worsham, 8.890, 82.05; Beckman, 4.062, 289.51 def. Diehl, 6.137, 113.21; FINAL — Capps, 3.954, 316.90 def. Beckman, 7.894, 85.05.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Jeg Coughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.708, 207.56 def. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.812, 206.70; Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 7.163, 155.65 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 10.450, 91.91; Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.718, 208.36 def. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.729, 209.23; Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.688, 208.88 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.698, 209.33; John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.785, 204.51 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 7.296, 154.74; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.600, 210.70 def. Charlie Westcott Jr., Ford Mustang, 8.839, 109.40; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.596, 210.14 was unopposed; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.646, 209.82 def. V. Gaines, Dart, 9.916, 84.11; QUARTERFINALS — Delco, 6.688, 208.07 def. Gaydosh Jr, Foul – Red Light; Nobile, 6.639, 210.37 def. Johnson, 7.003, 161.00; Anderson, 6.617, 210.73 def. Skillman, 6.723, 207.88; Line, 6.617, 210.54 def. Coughlin, 6.972, 162.86; SEMIFINALS — Line, 6.668, 210.21 def. Nobile, 14.129, 60.59; Anderson, 6.601, 211.39 def. Delco, ;FINAL — Anderson, 6.610, 210.93 def. Line, Foul – Red Light.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.841, 196.82 def. Cory Reed, Buell, Foul – Red Light; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.921, 192.33 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.089, 187.63; Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.869, 194.07 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.965, 192.22; Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.836, 196.62 def. Michael Ray, Buell, 7.070, 162.08; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.876, 195.45 def. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 6.968, 190.27; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.867, 195.70 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, Foul- Red Light; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.864, 195.56 def. Brian Pretzel, Suzuki, 7.027, 192.17; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.947, 192.11 def. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.987, 189.82; QUARTERFINALS — Savoie, 6.846, 196.36 def. Tonglet, 6.920, 192.17; Ellis, 6.903, 194.21 def. Arana Jr, 7.011, 193.35; Krawiec, 6.864, 196.36 def. Johnson, 6.971, 191.27; Sampey, 6.859, 195.45 def. Hines, 6.897, 194.88; SEMIFINALS — Savoie, 6.879, 197.51 def. Ellis, 6.880, 192.17; Sampey, 6.852, 193.74 def. Krawiec, 6.870, 196.24; FINAL — Sampey, 6.876, 194.41 def. Savoie, 6.928, 177.21.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Top Fuel: 1.  Doug Kalitta, 847; 2.  Antron Brown, 798; 3.  Steve Torrence, 782; 4.  Brittany Force, 693; 5. Tony Schumacher, 577; 6.  J.R. Todd, 528; 7.  Clay Millican, 507; 8.  Richie Crampton, 483; 9. Shawn Langdon, 478; 10.  Leah Pritchett, 377.

Funny Car: 1.  Ron Capps, 758; 2.  Jack Beckman, 731; 3.  Courtney Force, 687; 4.  Tim Wilkerson, 660; 5.  Del Worsham, 639; 6.  Matt Hagan, 615; 7.  Robert Hight, 586; 8.  John Force, 581; 9.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 558; 10.  Alexis DeJoria, 516.

Pro Stock: 1.  Jason Line, 1,133; 2.  Greg Anderson, 1,065; 3.  Bo Butner, 719; 4.  Allen Johnson, 614; 5. Drew Skillman, 550; 6.  Chris McGaha, 491; 7.  Vincent Nobile, 480; 8.  Jeg Coughlin, 424; 9.  Alex Laughlin, 413; 10.  Erica Enders, 406.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1.  Eddie Krawiec, 436; 2.  Jerry Savoie, 310; 3.  Angelle Sampey, 297; 4.  Andrew Hines, 290; 5. Chip Ellis, 269; 6.  Hector Arana, 239; 7.  LE Tonglet, 196; 8.  Karen Stoffer, 150; 9.  Scotty Pollacheck, 149; 10.  Steve Johnson, 147.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

IndyCar champion Will Power completes ‘Victory Lap’ at ceremony in Indianapolis

Will Power Victory Lap
Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment

INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power went on his “Victory Lap” last week to celebrate his second career championship as the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series champion.

It began with several media interviews in Monterey, California, the day after he won the championship with a third-place finish in the Sept. 11 Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.

From there, it was off to Los Angeles for more interviews and personal appearances that included a VIP Tour at the Petersen Automotive Museum, several appearances on SiriusXM and lunch at The Ivy, where the Team Penske IndyCar Series driver was treated to Wagyu Beef.

“It was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had in my life,” Power told NBCSports.com.

From L.A. back to Power’s North Carolina home, near Team Penske’s home base of Mooresville, there was one stop left on Sept. 17 — the Victory Lap Celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, an invitation-only banquet where Power and his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet crew at Team Penske were honored for the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series championship.

They didn’t even have to check into a hotel and spend another night on the road. Power and his team left on a Team Penske plane from the Statesville, N.C., airport at 4 p.m. ET Saturday to fly to Indianapolis. On arrival an hour later, a limo bus took the team to IMS.

Power led the 2022 season with five NTT P1 Awards for pole, earning the NTT P1 Award as the best qualifier of the season for the fifth time in his career. Power also made history with his 68th career pole, breaking the all-time mark held by the legendary Mario Andretti.

Power and Scott Dixon also became just two of only five drivers to complete every lap of every race in IndyCar Series history.

“What a year,” Power said as he was awarded his personal Astor Cup trophy (the second in his collection after the 2014 championship. “What a phenomenal year coming off one of my worst seasons personally. We came back with a vengeance.

“I want to thank Roger and Kathy Penske for everything they have done for me over the years. I wouldn’t be standing here and have the numbers I have without what Roger has done for me. I’m given a car every week that is capable of winning the pole, races, championships, and Indianapolis 500s. I’m so grateful for that.

“Also, to Greg Penske, you are there every week now at every event and I know we will be in good hands moving forward with the Penske Family.”

There are many on Power’s team and at home, that helped support Power throughout his career. None is bigger than Power’s wife, Liz, who told Power before the season that he would win the championship and break Andretti’s record.

“I must thank my wife. I’m so lucky to have a wife with that crystal ball that can tell me what is going to happen,” Power said. “I can’t think you enough, babe. I love you so much and you have been a big support to me my whole career. We’ve been together 17 years, and I’ve been in the series 17 years. She has been such a huge support to me. The mother of our child and she is a fantastic mother.

“She can’t tell the future. She just had faith in me.”

Liz Power’s premonition came true and that allowed Power and his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet team to celebrate Penske’s 17th IndyCar championship and 42nd title in the racing team’s history.

“The 12 crew this year, I’ve never had such a great group of guys,” Power said. “Trevor Lacasse (chief mechanic) is such a calm guy, but he does such a meticulous job on the preparation of the car. He is very, very good at keeping the whole crew happy. It feels as if there is no pressure on us. That’s a huge part in getting the most out of people. It was our first year together with you as a crew chief. What a great year to start our relationship.

“Dave Faustino (Power’s longtime engineer), we’ve worked together for 15 years. He’s almost like a wife to me, a partner … apart from sleeping together. We have a very good working relationship. Sorry Dave, I’m an awkward person and you are not.

“The things we have been through in our years together, it’s crazy that we continually improve and get better. We are standing on the podium after winning the championship and we are talking about the car, the race, and the tires. We weren’t talking about the championship.

“We never stop. The other boys were laughing at us, but I’m already thinking about next year.

“Ron Ruzewski (Team Penske IndyCar Managing Director and strategist) on the radio, always calm. He has actually made me a calm person. I rarely get upset on the radio anymore.”

Power also recognized the fans who helped boost attendance at many venues on the schedule this season as NBC Sports enjoyed its largest IndyCar audience yet.

“This series is growing,” Power said. “With open wheel racing now so popular because of Formula One, it’s really our time to push and put money behind it and go now and take IndyCar to another level because we have the best racing product in the world.

“I have to thank my teammates and (Team Penske president) Tim Cindric. I can’t tell you how hard we push each other. We are ultracompetitive and love each other and push each other hard, so thank you.”

Power won the championship by 16 points over hard-charging teammate Josef Newgarden, who finished second in the standings for the third year in a row.

“Overall, I’m filled with a lot of pride for our team and what we were able to do this year,” Newgarden said in his banquet address. “Any year that you step in the championship, you can easily see the challenges it presents everybody.

“It’s a very difficult challenge for the teams and drivers. To be a part of it, make it through it and for us at Team Penske, to topple it, is a very big deal. We’re all competitive.

“The tough thing about being in a championship fight, especially with teammates is we all want to be the best. That’s how it should be. We are competitive people and want to be the best. But it’s a team sport.

“Will, tremendous season, great, great job. I think the world of everybody on our team. It’s a big group. I’m so happy for all of you on the 12-car crew. There is so much we can take into next year.”

Six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was unable to attend the banquet because of the Goodwood Festival in England but sent congratulations to Power via a video message.

“I really want to congratulate Will Power,” Dixon said. “You drove a tremendous season this year. Even with some of the lows that you had, some of the mistakes with qualifying, you bounced back tremendously. I know how tough these championships are and to see you do it in the style that you did it in the last race of the season, massive congratulations.”

Power’s championship formula included one victory, nine podiums and 12 top-five finishes. Teammate Josef Newgarden was second in the championship with five wins but only six podiums.

Cindric saluted Power’s season in accepting the championship team owner award.

“Will, you took it to another level this year,” Cindric said. “You are the complete package. You completed every lap, had nine podiums, finished out of the top 10 just four times, broke Mario Andretti’s record, and you did it all without cussing at the officials on national TV.

“One complaint I do has is while most of us think you might be from another planet, you never told us your wife was a fortune teller.”

Cindric also honored the seasons of Penske drivers Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin, who won three times in his second full season (“You are one of only two full-time IndyCar drivers that has driven for us in the past 23 years that hasn’t won an Indy 500 or an IndyCar championship. Your time is coming.”).

Kyle Moyer was named team manager of the year (his fifth time and Penske’s sixth). Pennzoil presented Lacasse with the chief mechanic of the year for the first time, the sixth time for Team Penske. The No. 12 crew also won the Firestone Pit Performance Award for the most pit stop performance award points in 2022.

Power, Newgarden and McLaughlin delivered nine of Chevrolet’s series-leading 11 victories this season, helping Chevy win the Manufacturer Award for the seventh time since it returned to the series in 2012 and the first time since 2017. Jim Danahy, U.S. vice president, Competition Motorsports Engineering for Chevrolet, accepted the award on behalf of his team.

Christian Lundgaard was honored as the 2022 NTT IndyCar rookie of the year. Lundgaard, from Denmark, scored one podium, two top-five finishes and seven top-10s in the No. 30 Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He edged David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD by 18 points in the standings for first-year series drivers.

Christian Lundgaard (Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

“It’s been a tough season and looking at how it panned out, we struggled so much at the beginning of the season and how we were able to turn it around means so much to me and the team,” Lundgaard said. “It’s the one thing that you only get one shot at. I’m happy to have it.

“Being the first Dane at the Indy 500 certainly helps. Competing here for me is quite important and also special. To win this award and to be here in future years means so much to me. I have a chance to compete for wins and championships.

“This team gave me this opportunity at this track one year ago. We came back and got redemption. We got our first podium here. This year was 40 years ago that Bobby Rahal won the same award. It’s pretty special to keep it among the team.”

Sweden’s Linus Lundqvist was honored as Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion after a dominant season for HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing. Lundqvist won a series-high five races in the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry and clinched the Lights championship with a race to spare, ending with a 92-point advantage over Sting Ray Robb. HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing owners Henry and Daiva Malukas accepted the team championship.

“I’m very proud of that,” Lundqvist said. “It’s cool to see. We are starting to look to the future, and this might not be doing too bad. It’s been great. As most of you can guess with Henry and Daiva Malukas (team owners), it’s been an incredible journey. So much fun that we’ve had. To be on the grid this year was so much of a struggle for us. I didn’t even know I would be doing this until January.

“To be able to pull out the season that we had, I cannot thank this team enough. We will celebrate this for a long time. I’m so happy and proud about that.”

Outgoing IndyCar Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Geoffrey Billows also was honored as he is leaving that role while battling cancer.

“When I think of Dr. Billows, I think of two words,” IndyCar president Jay Frye said. “One is selfless and the other is tough. He’s gone through a lot these last couple of years, and he didn’t want anybody to know. He’s an amazing man, and we are very grateful for what you have done.”

Dr. Geoffrey Billows with IndyCar president Jay Frye (Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

Billows was presented with a framed checkered flag signed by all drivers in the series as well as other IndyCar officials and dignitaries.

“I was not expecting this at all,” Billows said. “This means so much for me to be part of this family for the past 30 years. I’ve been presented with opportunities I never thought I would ever have. I can’t tell you how much I love all of you guys and care for all of you guys.

“Thank you so much. I want to also thank my wife, Tammy, who has been a pillar of strength as I continue on this journey with cancer for the past two years as well. You will still see me as a consultant because I love this too much to quit altogether.”

When the evening concluded, Team Penske boarded a bus to the airport for the short return flight to Statesville. They were home by midnight.

Power’s Victory Lap was complete.

“The best thing about this is I get to sleep in my own bed tonight,” Power said.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500